Cougars take first place in 2-1A

By David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

BLUE MOUNTAIN – It’s a poorly kept secret – the Blue Mountain Cougars rely heavily on guard play.

In a battle for first place in Division 2-1A Tuesday, guards Ismael Ruedas and Jacob Girley combined for 48 points to help Blue Mountain grab a 73-58 victory over the Ingomar Falcons.

“You can relax as a coach with the ball in the hands of our guards,” Cougars head coach David Mason said. “This was a big division win as we set up to make a run during tournament time.

“I’m proud we matched the intensity of Ingomar, and I felt it was important to bring the energy in this contest. You live and die sometimes with our guards, but our guards played good tonight.”

Blue Mountain (12-5, 3-0) certainly brought its share of intensity. With Girley hitting a pair of early shots, and a pair of Ruedas floaters, the Cougars led 14-7 margin after the first quarter. That margin increased to as much as 30-15 highlighted by an eight-point trip down the court by Girley.

But Ingomar (11-7, 2-1) closed the half on an 11-3 spurt, with a Kelton Hall three-point play pulling the visitors within 33-28.

“They were a little more aggressive, more physical to open the game,” Falcons head coach Jonathan Ashley said. “Then … we found a way to match them.”

Ruedas began the third period with three straight field goals, and eventually the first 10 points for Blue Mountain. A 3-pointer by Dontae Knox with 3 minutes, 21 seconds left in the quarter was a dagger in Ingomar’s momentum, giving the Cougars a 48-36 lead.

Ruedas paced the Blue Mountain offense with 26 points, with Girley bagging 22. Hall was tops for Ingomar with 17.

(G) Ingomar 62, Blue Mountain 45: The Lady Falcons used a 15-3 second quarter in which they did not allow a field goal to gain some breathing room

Mallory Russell led Ingomar with 16, with Melenekqua Earl getting 14 to lead Blue Mountain.